LA BOURGE, FRANCE -- The French company Sagem Defense Security unveiled an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) armed with a long-range missile produced by RAFAEL, Israel’s armament development authority, at the La Bourge air show on Tuesday.
Only keen-eyed visitors noticed that the Sperwer had been paired up with the Israeli Spike, but word ran through the crowd and people lined up to see the French UAV.
The Sperwer is designed to destroy armored vehicles, including tanks, without the need of endangering a human pilot.
The Spike, an advanced top-attack missile, is what gives the French drone its killing power. Produced by RAFAEL, the missile comes in various models and has been purchased by a number of European countries, including Finland.
A number of countries have been producing armed UAVs to attack targets on the ground. For instance, the Americans used their Predator drone to assassinate six al-Qaeda terrorists in November 2002 in Yemen.
A surprising love affair
Israeli sources at the air show said that the French company and RAFAEL would enter into a partnership.
This is not the first time the Israelis and French have cooperated on defense industry production. A few years ago, the French corporation EADS privately unveiled an advanced UAV that had its origins in the Israel Aircraft Industries.
"The relationship between the French and Israeli military industries is deepening at a surprisingly good rate," an Israeli security source said at La Bourge.